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PREFACE.

Ar the completion of my second volume I contemplated that the documents within my reach, or to which I was likely to obtain access, would about compose a third volume, which I expected, and certainly hoped, would bring my labours to a close. It happened, however, very shortly afterwards, that circumstances placed within my reach a very large collection of deeds relating chiefly to the Cistercian Abbey of Margam, which were freely and very liberally placed at my disposal by Miss TALBOT, who had inherited them, with the lands to which they mainly related, from her ancestor, Sir RICE MANSEL.

These documents range in date from the foundation of the Abbey to its dissolution and purchase by Sir RICE. They are exceedingly numerous, and for the most part in excellent condition. They include Papal Bulls and Briefs, Royal Charters, Charters from the Lords of Glamorgan, and from the Bishops of the See and their Chapter, and from an immense number of Welsh landowners, whose lands lay mostly between the Abbey and the sea, upon the mountains immediately above the Abbey, and towards the town and rival monastery of Neath.

There are also many Grants and Confirmations from members of the House of Avene, the elder and main representatives of the Welsh princes of Glamorgan, who held their castle and lands 'per Baroniam' of the Lord of Glamorgan. The AVENES were by much the most important of the Welsh landowners. They gave charters of incorporation to their town of Avan, occasionally in public documents affected the plural number, and their great seals bore their effigies on horseback fully armed, and with armorial bearings differing, probably, in the colours only from those of the family of de CLARE, their Chief Lords. They were also large donors to the Abbey, usually confirmed the donations of their vassals, and were buried within its precincts.

As the influx of these documents imparted to the collection an ecclesiastical complexion, it was thought well to prefix to the volume a selection of such of the Charters by the early Welsh Bishops as related to the Lordship, and this the more readily that the Liber Landavensis,' in which they had already been printed, was rare, and contained them in common with much other matter. These accordingly have been transcribed from the copies in the British Museum by the care of my friend Mr. W. de GRAY BIRCH, and although they add somewhat inconveniently to the bulk of the present volume, add also materially to its completeness and value.

The Margam deeds, up to the time of their transcription, had been deposited at Penrice, and are thence designated. The Gower estates, including that of Penrice, were never Church lands, but were inherited by Sir RICE MANSEL from the PENRICES, LANGTONS, and other local families, and were held by knight service under Swansea Castle, of the Chief Lords of Gower, who held of the Crown. With the estate records were many de BRAOSE and other Charters relating to the Lordship of Gower, throwing great light upon the nature of its early tenure and upon the suit for its possession which was carried on for some centuries by the families of de BRAOSE, MOWBRAY, le DESPENSER, and BEAUCHAMP. These also, though not directly connected with the Lordship of Glamorgan, I have thought it well to print, since they have come into my hands and rise beyond mere local interest.

A large number of the documents here printed are without dates, and contain nothing from whence any precise date could be inferred. The arrangement, therefore, though intended as chronological, can only be regarded as so approximately. The volume closes with the 13th century.

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